Artist Profile: Ruairi McGoldrick

Ruairi McGoldrick is a student at Belfast School of Art who has just finished second year Graphic Design and Illustration. Ruairi chatted to The Jumble Magazine about drawing inspiration from media and franchises, creating characters, and the Belfast art scene. 

Describing my art can be so hard because I say my art is one way, then I go and create something that’s the complete opposite of what I said. I love colour, but my favourite pieces tend to be black and white sketches of people or characters. I’m very much a person who loves a character illustration. 

I’ve always said that my art is inspired by stories. When I look at any piece of art I imagine where it fits into a story or what’s being told by it. I love creating characters and making up backstories for them or thinking of a landscape that’s part of whatever tale I conjured up in my head while I was bored.

“So when I’m illustrating I usually like to have multiple artworks connected to each other, or as pieces of a bigger group that make the most sense when they’re together.”

I love books, comics, films and games, so that’s probably where my obsession with story building comes from. 

My work is normally based on something that I have a deep interest or knowledge in. It could be astrology or space themed, characters from my favourite games or films, or just an idea I came up with by combining things I’ve seen in the past. If it’s landscape or scene, it probably originated from the frame in a movie, and then after being combined with a few other scenes and artworks, I’ll most likely forget where all of it came from and be left with this vision in my mind that makes me think “that’s interesting, I should draw that!” I have a particular style of illustrating that I’ve worked on and like to use to give my art the feeling of it being ‘mine’. It’s sketchy and involves a lot of line work and cross hatching for the tones and shadows, but I’ve found I prefer it far better than any other kind of shading I’ve tried. 

At the start of the lock down, I couldn’t believe the amount of illustrating I was doing. I still had to finish my projects for class, but with all the free time I had from no job or travelling or visiting people, I just filled my time by creating all the art I had inside my head but never got to spend time thinking about. I honestly was loving it and I also noticed how I wasn’t as upset about being kept inside as my friends seemed to be, it was almost like the break from day to day life that I didn’t know I needed. Of course all that ended with my work opening back up and things starting to return to normal, but I’m glad I had that time to pause everything else and just create. 

When I think about all of the amazing local artist’s I’ve seen since moving to Belfast and starting university, it makes me smile because I never knew there was this much creativity and art in Northern Ireland. I hadn’t really given much thought back in school to what career I’d have or where I’d be when I was older, but I never would’ve guessed that Belfast would have so many options for an artist. I just love that there’s so much local talent to get to know and learn from.

You can check out more of Ruairi’s work on Instagram.

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